Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dead camera

Well, today I was hoping to be able to post some pictures of the newest kit from Tasca, the M4A3E2 Jumbo.  Instead, I get to tell you that my 6 1/2 year old Nikon D70 has gone to electronic heaven.  Yep, the camera that I've used since mid-2004 has finally died.  Last night, I powered it up to shoot pics of the Jumbo sprues but instead of taking pictures, I heard a "whirring" noise and had a green screen instead of an image display.  This morning, it wouldn't even power up.

Upon visiting the camera store today, I was told that it really wasn't worth fixing.  It'll probably be in the $350-$400 range to repair.  Not really worth it considering a some of the newest ones that shoot at a much higher resolution are $650 or so.  Of course, this couldn't come at a worse time as my car needs a bunch of work as well. 

Oh well, what can you do?  Things are tough all over and it could always be worse, much worse.  Later tonight, I'll post pics of the Jumbo sprues, just much lower quality pics as I'll be using my daughter's old Samsung digi-cam.  Oh and BTW, I have 3 Tasca Jumbos for sale, $50.00 each plus shipping.  C-ya!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Local PBS affiliate video of the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation

Back in October of this year, the local PBS affiliate, KTEH, was at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation filming a segment for a Veteran's Day special.  Below is the video used in the show that was televised on 10NOV10:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Israeli Half-Tracks Vol. I is now available!

Dr. Robert Manasherob of SabIngaMartin Publications has just informed me that his latest book, Israeli Half-Track Vol. I is now available.

This book and others can be purchased directly from Dr. Manasherob via the above website.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sherman Jumbo being released by the lizard??

A reliable source told me today that the lizard will be releasing their 1/35 Sherman Jumbo real soon.  Basically, they're timing it to counter the release of the Tasca Jumbo.  So, it looks like modellers will have an additional Jumbo to choose from later this month or early January. 

Don't expect any comparative Sherman Jumbo reviews from me as I provided Tasca with Sherman Jumbo photos and will be receiving my kit directly from them.  Plus, I do not plan on buying the lizard's Jumbo since I can't really justify purchasing anymore kits.  As it is, SWMBO gives me enough grief about the stack of unfinished kits in the den and I don't need anymore of that!

Until next time....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lion & Lioness of the Line Vol. 6: Early IDF Sherman Tanks

Last Saturday, I received my copy of the latest in the line of IDF Sherman books from Dr. Robert Manasherob.  Lion & Lioness of the Line Volume 6:  Early IDF Sherman Tanks covers the first Shermans that were acquired by the Israelis during and after the War of Independance in the late 1940's.  As Dr. Manasherob and I are friends, I won't review the book but I can tell you what's in it.

The book is 80 pages in length with the first 43 pages featuring numerous period photos and some line drawings of the earliest Israeli Shermans.  The balance of the book contains colors photos of a M4(105)VVSS on display at Latrun and color plates.  The early Israeli Shermans were 47 degree hull M4(105)'s that were acquired from Italy.  With the announcement of the new M4(105)VVSS from Dragon, modellers will now have a good base kit to model most if not all of the Shermans in this book.

Dr. Manasherob also let me know that he should have another book ready to go sometime this month.  As soon as it's official, I'll post it here.

This book and all others from Dr. Manasherob can be purchased directly from him through the Sabingamartin Publications website.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vulcan 1/35 Zundapp K800 Motorcycle in-box review

As noted in a previous post, I received from Vulcan Scale Models a sample of their latest kit, the 1/35 Zundapp K800 Motorcycle, kit #56006.  I have not had a chance to start building it but the following are my impressions of what you get inside the box.

The kit consists of 79 plastic parts on 3 sprues, 2 stainless steel PE frets for the wheel spokes, a 24 piece brass PE fret.  Also included are 4 tiny springs for the the seats and a small decal sheet with markings for 2 different bikes.  A 6 page instruction sheet rounds out the kit.

Sprue "A" is essentially the same sprue included in Vulcan's earlier Zundapp K500 kit.  However, the handlebars, part #34, were redesigned to better reflect to slight "W" shape of the real thing.  The incorrect shape of the handlebars in the K500 kit was noted in the PMMS K500 review.  When assembling the headlight, you can only add the blackout light cover as a clear lense piece is not included.  The quality of the molding is pretty good.  There is some lite flash on a few parts with few injector pin marks. 

Sprue "C" is an entirely new sprue and features the engine parts.  Photos of K800's that I found online show 7 vents on the engine block, while the kit part C1/C2 only have 6.  These missing vents can be scribed into the parts without too much trouble.  The cylinder head covers, parts C3/C4 have small sink marks in them.  They'll need to be filled with the cooling fins rescribed afterwards.
Sprue "FA" is the figure sprue and is the same one included with the K500.  Overall, the figure looks pretty good.  However, his dust goggles are pretty flimsy and are molded in solid grey plastic.  I'll be replacing mine with some clear plastic ones from the parts box.

The photo etch wheel spokes are a nice addition.  Each one gets sandwiched between a 5 piece tire assembly.  The brass PE fret contains some very small parts so care will be needed when removing them from the fret.  The 4 springs that are mounted underneath each seat are quite tiny and will disappear into the jaws of the "Carpet Monster" if one is not careful handling them.  The decal sheet has license plate, manufacturers and a speedometer.  If you want to add tactical markings to your kit, you'll need to find another source for them.

The instruction sheet consists of 23 steps written on 6 pages.  The assembly sequence appears to be logical and clearly written.  Painting call outs are noted in each step.  Recommended paints are Tamiya, Mr. Color and Life Color.  No historical background about the motorcycle is included in the instructions. 

Overall, it looks like Vulcan has done a nice job producing this kit.  The inclusion of a couple of clear parts for the rider's goggles and the headlight would be nice.  However, seeing how the corrected the handlebars compared to the previous K500 kit shows that Vulcan is willing to make changes to its product in order to make them accurate.  I look forward to building this kit during the next couple of weeks and will post another build type review at that time.

Thanks again to Leo at Vulcan Scale Models for the review sample.

My online references included:

And Zundapp Fool:  Visit this site if you want to download owner's and parts manuals for this and other Zundapp bikes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New 1/35 Zundapp K800 motorcycles from Vulcan!

After a full overtime shift at work today, I came home to find the following waiting for me in my living room:

The brand new 1/35 Zundapp K800 kits from Vulcan!  On first glance, they look very nice.  The K800 kit consists of 3 sprues and some real nice PE spokes along with a decal sheet. 

The K800 w/Steib Side Car Nr28 has 3 sprues along with the PE spokes and decals.  I'll post a more detailed preview in the next couple of days along with a review in about 10-14 days.  Now it's time to hit up some of the online Zundapp groups for some info.

Thanks to Leo at Vulcan Models for the review samples.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Sherman M4A3E2 Jumbo from Tasca!!

Finally, Tasca has announced the Sherman kit that many have been waiting for, a M4A3E2 Assault Tank aka "Sherman Jumbo"!!  For years, modellers have been stuck with either reworking the old Tamiya kit or using one of several resin conversion sets.  This new kit from Tasca will finally provide the modeller with what will undoubtably be an accurate kit for much less than the cost of the resin stuff. 

I don't have any pics of the actual kit yet but as soon as I get some, I will post them.  No release date has been listed but I bet it'll be ready for Christmas.  The following link will take you to the Tasca page describing their new Jumbo:  M4A3E2 Jumbo

The Military Vehicle Technology Foundation's M4A3E2 Assault Tank "Sherman Jumbo".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Local PBS affiliate filming at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation

Last week, the local PBS affiliate, KTEH, visited the MVTF to film a special show for Veteran's Day.  For this show, the Panther and the M551 Sheridan were brought outside.  The Sheridan was driven around with the show's host riding in it.  While not driven, the Panther was displayed in the museum courtyard.  Besides the Panther and Sheridan, the M4A1 Sherman and Kettenkrad were also featured in the filming.  The episode is due to air in the San Francisco Bay Area on Wed, 10NOV10 @ 7pm.  Here's a link to the show's blog:  "This is US" MVTF episode
Below are some pics of the Panther and M551.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New additions to the library

During the past 6-8 weeks, I've managed to obtain some new additions for my reference library, including 3 books from Osprey, a new Squadron Walk Around, the latest Allied-Axis and a large hard cover.

First up is Spanish Civil War Tanks is the latest New Vanguard title from Steven Zaloga.  It provides a good background on armored vehicles and their operations during the Spanish Civil War. I think it's a good place to start for anyone interested in this conflict.  I purchased this book at Amazon.

Maginot Line 1940 by Marc Romanych and Martin Rupp is #218 in the Osprey Campaign series.  I found the book to be very interesting as it explained many details about the Maginot Line that I was unaware of including the types of armament used by the fortifications and the battles that took place around them.  As a result of reading this book, I'm going to be looking for more English language publications about the Maginot Line.  This book was purchased at my local hobby shop.

Although I am primarily an armor modeller with some aircraft work, I do have an interest in naval warfare.  I bought Osprey's New Vanguard 145, British Submarines of World War I by Innes McCartney on a complete whim about 5 weeks ago.  This book is my first experience reading anything about British submarine warfare, WW I or otherwise.  I quite enjoyed the book and was completely amazed by how primative these boats were.  I'm used to reading about WW II sub warfare and compared to the WW I boats, the later pig-boats were luxury liners!  This is an enjoyable book so now I'll have to pick up more of the WW I stuff from Osprey.

Allied-Axis 25 is a quarterly photo journal published by Ampersand Publishing.  The usual format features several photo essays on various pieces of World War II equipment.  The photo essays consist of wartime and if available, preserved examples of the subject vehicle/equipment.  Issue 25 is no different.  Included are articles on the M19 40mm GMC, Panther Ausf. A, Ford Bomb Truck, GE 60" searchlight, SdKfz 222 armored car, and Ford Fordor Staff Car.  David Doyle is the primary editor and writer of the articles in this issue.  And just to keep things open here, I do have a personal stake in this one as I wrote the article on the Panther Ausf. A.  My thanks to David for my sample of this issue.

The latest Walk Around from Squadron is Valentine Tank Walk Around by David Doyle.  This 88 page book follows the latest Squadron Walk Around format.  With the exception of half a dozen b&w wartime photos, all pictures are in color.  Several line drawings and color plates are also included.  About half of the photos are of a Mk III preserved in Virginia.  The rest of the coverage includes a Mk VI in Canada and a Mk IX in the U.K.  Also included are 5 photos of a DD tank preserved in the U.K.  The timing of this book is perfect in light of the new Valentine kits that have just been released.  Thanks again to David for my sample copy.

 Last but not least, Patton's Third Army in World War II by Michael Green & James D. Brown is a real nice book for those interested in the 3rd Army and General Patton.  This is a large, coffee table type book.  It's 280+ pages are loaded with photos and maps, some commonly seen, some not.  Scattered throughout the book are short bios on commanders who served under Patton and excerpts from some of Patton's writings.  I've read through the first 50 pages or so and have not been disappointed.  Thanks to Michael Green for providing me with my sample copy.  Mike has been a friend of mine for several years so keep that in mind if you read anything I write about his books.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting caught up on things.

Better late than never, here's the rest of my preview of the new Tasca M4A3E8.

The kit shares several sprues with the earlier M4A3(76).  These can be seen in my preview of that kit.   However, Tasca made some subtle changes to the upper hull as seen in the photos below:
Tasca gives you a real nice looking late model upper hull in their new E8.  Along with the changes noted in the photos, the weld beads are of slightly different pattern compared to those in their earlier kit. 

The turret is the later T23 type with the oval loader's hatch.  A foundry logo is cast above the pistol port.  The logo is not present on the earlier kit.

Other changes when compared to the earlier kit are shown in the photo below:
The suspension parts are shown below.  I haven't done any test fitting yet so I won't make any comments about that.

Another new set of sprues include the fenders while the sprue with the lower hull includes the muzzle brake.

Based on the sprues alone, the kit looks like another winner from Tasca!  I haven't started either kit yet as I need to practice a bit first.  Time to pull an old Tamiya M3 Lee out for some painting practice.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Sherman from Tasca!

Back in June, I received the then new 1/35 Tasca M4A3(76).  Quite a very nice kit!  Well, this past Friday, what was waiting for me when I got home from work?  Well, it was this:
The newest Tasca Sherman, the M4A3E8 w/T66 tracks!  Quite a pleasant surprise.  Anyways, it was a very busy weekend so I didn't have much time to go over the kit.  I'll have a preview of it posted here in the next day or so along with comparison photos of it and Tasca's earlier M4A3(76).  Stay tuned....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New 1/48 Comet kit and 1/48 M12 155mm GMC kit

1/48 armor modellers have a couple of new kits to look forward to.  Tim Perry, who runs Fighting 48th has been showing off some of the masters for his new resin 1/48 A34 Comet.  It looks pretty damn nice so far:
No price has been announced for it yet, but based on Tim's previous releases, it'll be well worth whatever he charges for it.

Another new kit, actually a conversion for the Tamiya M4 Shermans comes from Olivier Saint-lot who runs the Gaso.Line webstore.  Olivier has been making 1/48 resin kits and conversions for a long time and his latest is a M12 155mm GMC conversion. 

It too looks real nice.  For those outside of Europe, the price is around 27euros plus shipping.  Both of these kits are going on my Christmas and birthday lists.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some things just don't work out as planned!

Well, here it is Thursday, 12AUG10.  This Saturday, I was planning on heading down to So.Cal to visit TankLand, which is a pretty cool military vehicle museum in South El Monte.  I was planning on spending the day down there, taking pictures and just plain goofing off.  Then, on Sunday, I was going to head to the General George S. Patton Museum in Chiriaco Springs, CA to do the same thing.  Of course, things just aren't going to turn out that way.

Yesterday, my wife had to take her car into the shop.  $850.00 later, it was set free.  Needless to say, that took care of the Toadman's weekend.  Luckily, I hadn't paid for anything in advance.  Combined with work on my car in June and my cat getting hit by my daughter's car, it's been a rather expensive summer for me.

So, instead of going to So. Cal, I'll be back at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation this weekend giving tours.  Along with that, I'll finally be getting some more model work done along with a website update.  I guess things will work out eventually.  So.Cal can wait until October, unless of course something else goes wrong....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SabIngaMartin Publications strikes again!

Well, it looks like Dr. Robert Manasherob is on a roll!  Announced last week is his latest in the Lion and Lioness of the Line series on Israeli Shermans.  His newest one is Vol. 6, Early IDF Shermans
I think this makes 3 or 4 new titles for him this year!  Like the rest, it should be a winner!  I hope to have my copy in the next 10-14 days.  Time to get out all of those Sherman kits that have been stashed away.
This title along with the rest of Dr. Manasherob's book are available through his website:  SabIngaMartin Publications.  When you order, tell him the "Toadman" sent you!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Across the street from my employer today...

...was this:

This M1117 was being delivered to the local USAR MP unit.  I'll be posting additional pics of it on my website during the next couple of days.  I'm hoping to take even more pics of it during the next week or two.